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Orbitz global CMO takes flight

Travel Website Orbitz has eliminated its global CMO position, in order to focus marketing at a more regional level. 

This move reflects a structural change that Orbitz executives say the company has been undertaking over the past few months. Orbitz is ap­proaching its business by focusing locally on the Americas, Europe and Asia. 

“We are taking a more operational focus to our business and operating at a more local level,” said Brian Hoyt, VP of cor­porate communications and government affairs at Orbitz. 

“As we execute our marketing pro­grams, it makes sense to focus region­ally as this is already how we have been operating,” he continued. 

The move will not will not change any of the company’s day-to-day efforts. 

CMO Randy Susan Wagner will step down from her position on February 15. Tom Russell, group VP of offline brand marketing and Aaron Cooper, group VP of online marketing, the marketing team that previously reported to Wag­ner, will now report directly to Orbitz CEO Steve Barnhart. 

“The last several months the business has decided to make these structural changes, but this is just a change at the senior management level,” said Hoyt. He went on to explain, “Tom Russell has been the head of brand mar­keting for about two years and Aaron Cooper has been running the online marketing team for three years so, ef­fectively, online and offline have been working this way for some time.” 

The European marketing effort will be focused through Orbitz’s London-based ebookers.com brand, which isactive in 13 European nations.

Marketing for the Europe office will be run by Alan Josephs, general manager of ebookers.com. For Orbitz’s brand in the Asian region, marketing will be run by Chloe Lim, general manager of the Syd­ney, Australia-based HotelClub.com. 

Wagner joined Chicago-based Orbitz Worldwide in May 2005. Previously, she held a global marketing role at Mc­Donald’s Corp. During her two and a half years at Orbitz, she was responsible for Orbitz Games, an interactive gam­ing site that promotes the travel brand. 

She also initiated sending up-to-date in­formation on flight schedules via e-mail and cell phones to ease time management in air­ports. She also led the OrbitzTLC rebranding, a new orange logo that highlights the compa­ny’s customer services. 

Hoyt said that the new structure will not change any of Orbitz’s agency relationships. In­terpublic Group’s Mullen handles adver­tising, WPP Group’s MediaCom handles the media buys, Omnicom’s Brodeur handles PR and independent firm 15 Let­ters inc. does design for Orbitz. 

Orbitz is a brand of international travel and business service conglomerate Trav­elport Inc. It manges more than 20 travel brands in addition to Orbitz  

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